Solid cheap meals come quickly and without ceremony at Cafe 41, fast food Vietnam style. Neighbour, Cafe 43, pulls more customers yet Cafe 41’s prices and quality are comparable, it’s seating more comfortable, and its staff friendlier. Perhaps the more sedate indoor feel is the deterrent but for us there’s not much between these two very cheap Vietnamese restaurants.
Cafe 41 is a hotchpotch of colours and styles with its two rooms making no attempt at a common theme; the mood changing every few metres. A family shrine/TV room is a very visible annex at the back completing the jumble.
The Cau Lau was too wet and missing the most aromatic herbs, especially the mint, but it was still pretty good value at 35,000 VND (1.50 USD). The noodles with chicken and vegetables was nicely spiced with fresh ginger but the chicken was a little dry (possibly pre-cooked and reheated) amongst the fresh tomato, carrot, celery, onion and the ubiquitous pineapple. The noodles for this dish were a little soggy but again, at 55,000 VND (2.40 USD), fair value.
Tran Cao Van is the street for budget meals and Cafe 41 is as good as most. We’ll be back again, especially when looking for value with the kids.
Updated March 2019